Your doctor will likely recommend you make some changes in your life, and cardiac rehab is key to helping you implement these lifestyle changes and restore your heart health. In fact, cardiac rehab decreases the risk of a future heart event by stabilizing, slowing or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease.
The process starts when you are in the hospital, and continues on an outpatient basis with the goal of continuing and/or integrating fitness and wellness into your daily life.
The program consists of three phases and is led by registered nurses, exercise physiologists and respiratory therapists:
- Phase 1 is focused on educating you in the hospital. You are given information regarding your specific heart condition, activity/home walking program, nutrition, medications, risk factor and lifestyle changes, and emergency planning.
- Phase 2 begins 3-4 weeks following your hospitalization. You receive an individualized treatment plan and work toward personalized goals with the cardiac rehab team. The team works closely with you as you progress through the program. They monitor your heart rate and blood pressure to evaluate for possible concerns as well as improvements. You attend an exercise program in cardiac rehab 3 times per week for 12 weeks. Each 60-minute session consists of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching. There is also an educational component that consists of topics such as stress management, nutrition, risk factor management and overall cardiac education.
- Phase 3 is a non-monitored, self-directed exercise program offered to you after you complete phase 2. It is important to continue to exercise on your own and make fitness a regular habit. This program is open to anyone who has participated in a cardiac rehab program or has a doctor referral.
Cardiac rehab doesn’t change the past, but it can improve your heart’s future. Your participation and completion of the program will give you the confidence to live well with heart disease.
If you or someone you know may be eligible for cardiac rehab, speak to your doctor and obtain an order for cardiac rehab. You will need to verify your insurance coverage prior to beginning cardiac rehab.